by Victor Lopez
MIDLAND--The C.A.F. has every intention of obeying the order to hand over the F-82, but that doesn't mean they are giving up the fight. The plane has been a part of things since the late 1960's, so they plan to do everything they can to bring it back.
"We've been fighting for this now, for 6 years, so we're willing to go as far as we can, as far as we have to, C.A.F. President and CEO Stephan Brown, said.
What started out as a question of ownership, turned into a tug of war. The Commerorative Air Force went so far as to make the National Museum of the Air Force an offer, giving up ownership, just to keep the plane in Midland. "I felt confident, after my discussions that the board would go forth and agree to the proposal and agree with us to keep it, in exchange for dropping the lawsuit, but I was wrong. They rejected that, just last week," Brown explained.
Once a graceful, flying machine, the Twin Mustang was quickly taken apart, set in piles, ready to be flown to a new hangar. "We'll ship it out in the next week or so, as soon as the shipper arrives. We'll ship it to Dayton, Ohio, the home of the Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson," Brown said.
Drew Thompson, an aviation student at Midland College, has mixed emotions about helping out, "It is an experience for us, as students, to be able to come out here and take part in tearing an airplane down, learning a little bit, but all in all, it would be nice if it was another aircraft other than this, a piece of history."
Brown says, this isn't the end of the fight. There's still a chance at another appeal with a different judge, "It's called the Denovo Review which means that the Appelate Court takes a look at the facts of the case and does not take into account the trial judge's ruling."
Brown says the final hope is to bring the F-82 back home to Midland, "We're hopeful that this next judge will see it the way we see it, which is that we actually own this airplane."